There are two answers to How did NASA achieve their live TV broadcast in 1969? and each has a map that denotes the location of the following two sites

  • Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station
  • Parkes Radio Telescope

If I type these two phrases into google maps I get Parkes in New South Wales and Honeysuckle Creek in Australian Capital Territory with a driving distance of about 360 kilometers.

Dish antennas don't really move, but names of sites can move, change, or evolve and one location can administer radio telescopes at other sites.

Question: Are either of the images from these answers accurate in portraying the two locations where the signals were received?

update: I just noticed the following comment below one of the answers:

Just a note that this image is not in any way geographically accurate. The location of Parkes (based on the star) seems to be off by around 2000km. It also puts Canberra somewhere near the location of Adelaide (1200km off), and Sydney is similarly way off. Parkes, Canberra and Sydney are all within 350km of each other, with Sydney on the coast (obviously)

From this answer (Source)

Australia locations of Apollo signals

From this answer (source not listed)

Australia locations of Apollo signals

Naive google mapping:

Naive google mapping


2 Answers 2


Supplemental answer: Three sites in Australia were used to communicate with Apollo.

  1. Tidbinbilla (now called Canberra DSCC)

    • Designed and continues to be used for tracking and communications of deep-space probes by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. One of three locations of the Deep Space Network (DSN).
    • Located in the Australian Capital Territory, which also includes the national capital Canberra.
    • Adjacent to and named after the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
    • Replaced the Woomera tracking station. Construction began in June 1963. Opened December 1964 with a 26 m dish to track Mariner 4.
    • During Apollo, NASA determined that there was too much interference when trying to track two vehicles (CSM and LM) with one dish. NASA asked JPL to use the DSN stations for the LM. JPL feared that it would interfere with their ongoing Mariner and Pioneer programs. A compromise was reached: the control building would have two wings, one for DSN and one for Apollo. The dish would be switched over to Apollo as needed.
    • Used its 26 m dish for lunar module communications for Apollo, including the lunar television broadcasts.
    • Now called the Canberra DSCC or simply "Canberra". Like the Goldstone and Madrid Deep-Space Communication Complexes, has had more dishes added on the site. Today, each DSCC has a 70 m dish and three 34 m dishes. They support unmanned spacecraft beyond Earth, including the Voyagers, New Horizons, and the Mars orbiters/landers/rovers.
  2. Honeysuckle Creek

    • Designed for the Manned Space-Flight Network (MSFN), to track manned spacecraft (basically Apollo).
    • Located in the Australian Capital Territory, close to Tidbinbilla.
    • Opened in 1967 with a 26 m dish of the same design as Tidbinbilla.
    • During Apollo, used to communicate with the command/service module.
    • Also used for Skylab.
    • Dish relocated to Canberra DSCC in 1981 and station closed. Now a historical site.
    • Today, the functionality of communicating with manned spacecraft is provided by the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System.
  3. Parkes Observatory

    • Designed and continues to be used as a radio telescope observatory for astronomy research. Owned and operated by CSIRO, the Australian science agency.
    • Located in Parkes, New South Wales.
    • Completed in 1961 with a 64 m dish. Receiver only; no transmitter.
    • Adapted during the Apollo program to receive lunar television signals. Because the dish was larger than the others, the image quality was often better, so many news outlets preferred the Parkes broadcast.
    • Also assisted in receiving transmissions during the Apollo 13 disaster.
    • Subject of the 2000 film The Dish, about its contributions during Apollo 11. The film has been criticized for its accuracy, including attributing many of the events at Tidbinbilla or Honeysuckle Creek to Parkes.
    • Still in use today for radio astronomy.
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ One more thing: I have occasionally seen Tidbinbilla named in place of Honeysuckle Creek (or vice versa) in non-official sources. Perhaps this is because the two sites were near each other. Therefore, it is wise to confirm information about the Apollo-era sites with at least two independent sources. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 2:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ One NASA tracking site in Australia that is generally forgotten about is the Carnarvon Tracking Station, on the Western Australian coast. It was used for projects Gemini, Apollo & Skylab. It operated from 1963 to 1996. Recent news item about the station. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 19:03

Naive maybe, but your Google Maps picture appears to be correct.

This page goes into the history of the Parkes Telescope. It's clear that it has never been moved and is at the Visitor Center location on the Google map.

The 1965 map on this page shows the location of Honeysuckle Creek to be due south of Canberra, as shown on your Google map.

So the picture of the globe in the question looks pretty much OK. The relative locations in the "How A Live TV Signal..." picture in the question look OK too, but the image of the three stars and the lines connecting them is ridiculously too big compared to the outline of Australia they are shown on top of. And Sydney's not even shown on the coast!

(The yellow star for Goldstone looks too far east as well. It appears to be in Las Vegas).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks, all is well. The honeysucklecreek.net site is great! I first encountered it here. There's this comment as well. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 23:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Additional information to corroborate this answer. From the respective Wikipedia websites, the co-ords for the Parkes radio telescope are 32.9833 S, 148.2631 E & for the Honeysuckle Creek tracking station, 35.5838 S, 148.9769 E. Definitely on the eastern side of the continent. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 18:57

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